Follow the Customer

Keep Up and Make It Simple

As we close the books on 2017, I see a lot of predictions for next year’s customer experience trends. What’s been surprising in these reports is consensus among most experts about where the business world is heading. 

Digital transformation is well underway, and it’s being led by customers. But the problem is that companies are finding it really difficult to keep up.  
In the New Year, consumers will have better things to do than deal with poor brand experiences. They want simplified interactions, personalized attention, and favor brands that understand and anticipate their needs. That’s why voice assistants and mobile devices top the holiday gift lists. 

Consumer desire for simplicity isn’t new. What is new in 2018 is how they prefer to make things simple via personalization, automation, and artificial intelligence.

Companies will have to work harder than ever this year—understanding data, mapping customer journeys, and harnessing the power of technology—to stand out from the competition. 

This issue of the Customer Strategist journal chronicles how companies are delving deeper into customer journeys and motivation to meet expectations of simplicity. B2B tech company Avnet taps into the emotion of its clients, while startups offer concierge services to provide deeper engagement. The direct-to-consumer business model makes hay across industries, and we discern between dumb bots and intelligent virtual associates. 

As a consumer, I’m personally looking forward to a simpler future. I’m already on the lookout for brands that accept Apple Pay, or that allow me to start a purchase in one channel (desktop) and move to another (mobile app). 

I also notice when my enhanced expectations are not met. Only recently did I notice that my bank didn’t have a chat option when I had a quick question about my balance. And a big-box hardware store said it had the item I needed in stock at my nearest store, but when I got there, the shelves were empty. 

2018 will be a year full of transition and disruption. The old ways of doing business are fading, and next generation applications of customer expectations will rise even more. Happy New Year!